Film Studies

Individually Designed Major in Film

UAB students using film equipment to shoot video.

The Individually Designed Major in Film requires 45 credit hours of coursework, with 20 hours taken at the 300-400 level. A minor is strongly recommended. A suggested course template is a broad curriculum requiring film production experience (narrative, documentary, and computer-based) as well as a foundation in film history and criticism.

Students who choose an Individually Designed Major in Film at UAB can expect:

  • To have a consummate educational experience that utilizes both the arts and sciences by requiring skills in visual and auditory arts, creative writing, research, a firm command of current media technology, as well as applied psychology in understanding an audience, message design, effective interviewing, and developing-interpreting-directing a character. In addition, filmmaking teaches teamwork, time management, and organizational and business skills
  • To learn the various components of film industry crew positions required to produce a professional film: writing, producing, directing, interviewing, cinematography, audio, editing, and distribution
  • To cultivate critical thinking in the areas of film analysis and criticism
  • To be equipped to join the workforce for the growing film industry in the state of Alabama and across the nation by networking with the film industry while still in college


Students choose from 43 courses to create their own individualized degree. Courses include film production (narrative, documentary, and experimental), film studies, animation, music tech, and more.

Narrative Film

Narrative film courses are taught in the Theatre department. Courses include:

  • Film Technology: Cinematography, Audio, and Editing
  • Filmmaking I, II, III
  • Beginning and Advanced Screenwriting
  • Acting for the Camera
  • Narrative Film Internship

In Filmmaking I, II and III, students learn to write, produce, direct and edit narrative films of various lengths.

In Filmmaking III and IV, casting is accomplished through a 2-day open audition process which brings actors from a 60-70 miles radius of Birmingham. Fourteen short films are produced each semester, shooting in 12-15 locations within a 3-county area. The best student films are promoted through film festivals around the world, creating an international profile for the students who work on these projects.

Documentary Film

Documentary film courses are taught in the Media Studies Program. The Media Studies program offers courses in:

  • Theory and Practice of Documentary Filmmaking
  • Community-Based Digital Storytelling
  • Media Service Projects
  • Oral History

In theory courses, students learn about the technological, stylistic, and cultural history of documentary film and media, providing a context for their own work.

Student films have premiered at the McWane Science Center Imax Theater, Vulcan Park and Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art and numerous film festivals. The program has been supported by the Ford Foundation, recognized as a national model for using technology in education, and has showcased original student work at national conferences.

Animation and New Media

Animation and new media in the department of Art & Art History take an integrated approach to contemporary media practice by synthesizing the values of fine arts with possibilities of new methods and art practices offered by technological innovation and interdisciplinary engagement. The specialization engages students with continually evolving technologies and encourages an investigation of new media and visual arts.

The area offers students courses in:

  • Video
  • Animation
  • Interactive Design
  • 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Motion Graphics
  • Emerging Technologies

Students are encouraged to create projects using traditional and computer animation methods, video, as well as experimental film, video and installation art. These courses count toward fulfillment of the Interdisciplinary Film Minor as well as the Leonardo Art & Engineering Certificate.

Film Studies

Courses in film studies are offered in the Departments of English, Foreign Languages and Literature, History, and Sociology. In Film Studies, students explore the different ways in which films are interpreted and understood. Students learn to analyze film with reference to its inherent formal characteristics, the filmmaking processes that bring it into being, and the social and cultural contexts from which it emerges. At the same time, students become familiar with the major historical developments in film, from the silent period, to Golden Age Hollywood, to the neo-realists, to the French New Wave, to the blockbuster, to the emergence of new national cinemas. In addition, students may have a chance to take advanced seminars focused on specific topics, movements, genres, or directors.

Interdisciplinary Film Minor

The Interdisciplinary Film Minor is a 21-hour program. Students choose from 43 courses from 8 departments to accomplish an interdisciplinary film minor. Courses include film production (narrative, documentary, and experimental), film studies, animation, music tech, and more. Students are required to take 12 hours of electives and 9 hours within a concentration.

Contact Us

Michele Forman
Director, Media Studies Program
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(205) 934-8560
Heritage Hall 360E